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Progressivism Essay

Words: 1811, Paragraphs: 20, Pages: 7

Paper type: Essay

Progressivism was an era that desired movement toward reform; it was not single instance but based on a series of advancements. With a new urban-industrial American on deck came the socioeconomic challenges of every day life. Ata basic level, It was a response to the political and cultural changes that plagued the nation, the challenges as side effect of an Industrial society. Many people were Involved In Progressivism, especially the middle class. Even the Immigrant, slum dwellers, and hard laborers took some initiative in hopes to refine the system.

Collectively, the people embroiled the series of actions that demanded and granted changes the society of the nation, creating an era that was recognized for the progressive movement that led to outcomes that changed the socioeconomic status of America. Major concerns engulfed the nation’s society, thus leading to the desire for reform. Some of the central issues included the spread of poverty, the exploitation of labor, monopolies, the breakdown of democratic government, and social injustice. Overall the problems promoted a rapid movement toward financial and industrial concentration and the people were simply a side affect.

Most Jobs were performed under hazardous conditions and for very little In wages. Wages were not even enough to support a family let alone feed their starving children. There was an absence of sick day, vacation time and certainly no benefits. Many workers were injured on the job and some even died as result, an example of the atrocities can be seen in many of the exposes by Lincoln Stiffen, The Shame of Cites (1901) and Jane Adams encouraged that a workers level they demand better conditions (Democracy and Social Ethics [1902] and Twenty Years at the Hull House [1910]).

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From miners inhaling toxic substances causing respiratory disease (Granites Cutter Journal), to textile mills burring to the ground with no chance for escape due to locked doors as exemplified in the incident of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, children often labored for long days and at very young ages. Corporations also grew at an alarming rate, determining monopolies and this controlling the prices of the good produced from them.

Clearly at prices In which the common man, usually denned as the unskilled worked who maltreatment a barely there Income could not afford. The determination or financial gain by corporate leaders was at the expense of the middle class and rural labors. The abuse of political power was on the rise and resulted in fraudulent elections and bribery created by party loyalties. There was also little government support for those drowning in poverty, slums were in abundance and social morale was at an all time low.

The only ones who seems to be afloat the poverty line and enjoying their lives were the corporate and scandalous political leaders who turned a blind eye to the reality of the society and the ruins it laid in Since many Americans ere worried that the economics in conjunction with political power would distract from the historic traditions of responsible democratic government and free Industrial opportunity they began to form what we know today as the progressives.

The progressives Included much of the middle class which consisted of business men, teachers, lawyers, social workers, and people of religion. Often times new, middle class professionals suggested that the application of the professions would aid retorting ten problems noted In collect Muckraking Journalists were also Known as regressive. The Journalist sought to attack and sensationalist corruption and scandal with a sense of moral outrage. Also involved with the progressive movement were groups of frustrated workers who longed to stamp out capitalism.

In addition, women too played an integral role in the successes of the Progressive Era as well. They pursued voting rights for woman and social welfare (playgrounds, nurseries to the slums, and banning of unsafe food goods). Though many progressive reformers tended to be white, activist W. E. B. Du Bob’s, promoted African American reform and encouraged the demand for equality and full integration into American life. He helped form the NAACP that would help organized and evolve the urban black middle class.

The middle class may have been the predominate group in the fight for change and served as an influential role that led to the accomplishments and reform established during this period, all people in the progressive culture were considered contributors in this effort. Progressives faced many difficulties in attempting to reform their society as they knew it; however they were not without many valiant successes. These successes were on a variety of levels, economically, socially and politically. Economically there were many gains, for instance, child labor was outlawed in 1907 by thirty states.

The work day was now regulated by the Adamson Act of 1916 and due to many journalistic enlightenment’s investigators were now out and about evaluating workplace safety and potential hazards as seen in documents depicting horrendous conditions like Granites Cutter Journal depicting the miners’ hazards. The Jungle depicted the utter lows of the meat packing industry. Employers were now held viable for work related injuries and death (The Workmen’s Compensation Act of 1916). Monopolies were broken down, Theodore Roosevelt, a supporter of progressivism, was dubbed as the “trust buster” as he helped control big business.

The biggest trust that Roosevelt busted was the one involving Northern Securities and J. P. Morgan. Roosevelt had a heavy hand in much of this reform though Wilson and Taft must also be commended for their efforts. Having progressives in political office aided in the success of reform, especially in the realm of government. The middle class peoples also did their part to improve politics. Voters were now allowed to propose new laws, accept or reject the law and to remove political officials and judges from office before their term was over.

They also advocated for nominating candidates into primaries and holding elections that diverted fraud, bribery, and other scandalous activities. The Journalist muckrakers helped this cause by exploiting the political wrong doings. To accompany the political and economic success that had prevailed there were also many social advances made. Women, especially implement a support system for immigrants that had recently come to the country. Educational opportunities, sanitation, things as simple as garbage pick up, and municipal hygiene came into importance as did the ideas of proper behavior.

Amusement parks like Coney Island offer an escape from the hard reality of the working world as did movies. The environment became a concern and movement toward reducing the coal burning toxins in the air was now a priority, It was thought that if the social environment, surrounding the people improved it would improve the people. By making Delegating ten communities It would Dost morale Ana motivate people to become more efficient and self sustaining. It would offer promise and reward to a society that had longer for reform.

In lieu of the many gains that the Progressive Era established, there still loomed racism and moralist. Racism continued to run ramped backed by the blessing of the government. Even those ideals that were said to be equal in essence were but in reality were not. In particular would be political representation, the right to vote and schools for the black community. Schools were established for both white and blacks, proposing the idea that school was equally available however the quality of each was dramatically efferent. Violence against black was common; the technique of choice was lynching.

It was taken to a whole new level when in 1916 a Texan mayor requested that the tree not be damaged during the hanging since it was on city property. Sometime the lynching was even conducted in front of crowds and graphic postcards were doled out after the brutal procedure was completed. Even some black communities were burned to the ground. Rarely did the authorities intervene. Many blacks were imprisons and trapped within the system, thought as inferior and treated as such. Aside from the darkness of racism also stemmed the moral issues of the time, drinking, prostitution and use of drugs.

Drinking offered an escape to those who wanted a moment away from reality; women found prostitution as way to earn competitive wages for less time and less labor for that matter, and the use of opiates and its derivatives morphine and heroin became a familiar practice, supplied in even the most common of products like Coca-Cola. The use of drugs even carried racist undertones, of “drug crazed Negroes” and Chinese “opium dens”. Consistent increases in the smoking of cigarettes occurred. Perhaps this was a consequence of the stress that reform inevitably occurred?

More likely though it was due to the initial lack of regulation of these “immoral” deemed behaviors that allowed for the perpetuation of them. In a time where some many positive gains were made there were some serious side effects to the advancement made in both industry and in the refinement of society. Prohibition soon followed promoted by many women leader, as did the regulation of food and drugs, requiring ingredients to be noted. With reform lingering in their minds it made it much easier to enter and find the positive aspects n the time of war.

In the long run the war diminished the energies that were previously put into reform as their energy was now focused on the war itself. The war brought on corporate regulation to a new level and offered a global market during World War l. Since most men were away at war, many women and blacks were offer opportunities in the workforce, with regulated hours, set wages and various protections. This was something that progressivism enabled. Thus when we entered the war, progressivism did not die out but was indirectly supported even more, perhaps without even noticing. Factory work increased and real wages of unskilled worked improved.

The war aided in the continued improvement of the economic status and moral reform of the nation. Progressivism was an era that desired movement toward reform; it was not single instance but based on a series of advancements. America was in turmoil due to internal problems and was in dire need of social reforms. It was a response to the political and social challenges that begged for reform. Many people were involved in Progressivism, especially the meme class. Even ten Immigrant, slum alerts, Ana nard ladders took some initiative in hopes to refine the system.

Collectively, the people strives to achieve success in change. However with success came additional issues, racism and moralist Just to name a few. The issued of utmost importance were big business monopolies, corruption within a supposed democratic government and the nation in social ruins, a mess of poverty and low morale. The series of actions that demanded and granted changes the society of the nation, creating an era that was recognized for the progressive movement that led to outcomes that changed the socioeconomic status of America forever.


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This sample paper is crafted by Elizabeth. She studies Communications at Northwestern University. All the content of this paper is just her opinion on Progressivism and can be used only as a possible source of ideas and arguments.

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